Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

Sunday. 17th. CFA Sunday. 17th. CFA
Sunday. 17th.

Lovely day. Time devoted to the ordinary exercises. Evening at E. Brooks’.

I began this morning a series of Sunday Morning readings which I purpose to continue with my daughter Louisa. She read today the two first chapters in the book of Genesis and committed a hymn of Dr. Watts.1 She is now old enough to begin to think for herself upon matters of conduct and I wish to instil into her a sense of right which shall help her to govern the impetuosity of her character. She is a fine child with noble powers of mind and a good heart, but like all such she has strong impulses and a fiery temper. Religious and moral affections are what I rely upon to correct these.

Attended divine service and heard Dr. Frothingham in the morning preach from Galatians 5. 7. “Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?” Upon the discouragements under which men often relax their hold upon good. I liked the afternoon discourse the best. Matthew 9. 16. “And the rent is made worse.” A curious text upon which to work a discussion of the projects of moral reforms in the present day which have such extensive approbation and which yet are as the preacher said, calculated for the most part upon a mistaken estimate of man.

Read a discourse of Bishop Smalridge. Psalm 42. 11. “Why art thou cast down, O my Soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope then in God, for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance and my God.” A text I have often read with a deep sense of its 204consoling import although I have never yet been tried by affliction. This was a sensible discourse upon the subject.

I tried Burr but failed and much dissatisfied. Evening, we went to Edward Brooks’ where we passed an hour much in the usual way.

1.

The Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs of Isaac Watts were published in countless editions from 1719 onward.

Monday 18th. CFA Monday 18th. CFA
Monday 18th.

Cloudy day. Time occupied as usual. Evening at home.

I devoted some time to the arrangement necessary for removing the body of T. B. Adams and had a little left for writing. But I did not satisfy myself. When do I? The day was foggy and drizzly and I felt dull.

A Letter from my Mother with no news in it.1 Philoctetes, making great progress. It is the easiest Greek tragedy I ever read. Continue to work on MS and Gibbon, so I did not do as I said on Saturday. Evening, French, and Burr which I worked over as usual.

1.

14 March, Adams Papers.

Tuesday 19th. CFA Tuesday 19th. CFA
Tuesday 19th.

Clouds and cold with a high Easterly wind. To Quincy. Afternoon and evening at home.

After going down into State Street for half an hour, finding that Mr. Hobart had come in as I had arranged,1 I immediately proceeded to Quincy. I went time enough to give me half an hour to look about my place at Quincy, but it seemed so cheerless I was glad to get away. There is no attraction to me in the country in the winter season, however much I delight in it in summer.

At the appointed time I went to the vault in the grave yard, and found there Mr. Hobart just arrived with the body. Mr. Harrod and I. Hull Adams soon joined us accompanied by Mr. Lunt. This gentleman made a short and feeling prayer and then the remains of Thomas were gathered to those of the rest of his family. Poor fellow, no more deserving member is to be found there. I could not avoid reflecting upon the vanity of human expectations and the necessity of unlimited submission and trust in the divine decree.

I went into the vault and saw there the coffins as they remain still in very good preservation of the various members of the family who have died during the present century, with the exception of my grandfather 205and grandmother who lie under the Church. There are my two brothers both of whom died far from this place and both of whom have been returned to it as Thomas is. My uncle Thomas, and aunt Smith, Louisa Smith’s mother, and a child of Mrs. T. B. Adams, and two besides whom I do not remember.2 As Hull told us his mother was not yet informed of this event and he feared the effect of her seeing us, we returned directly to town. I got home chilled at three o’clock.

Afternoon reading Gibbon. Did nothing else. I shun writing. Evening W. C. Gorham called and spent an hour. He is a thinking young man but is in a bad school for this country. He is too English.3 Read Gibbon’s celebrated fifteenth Chapter. What a labour it must have cost to overlook the primary causes of the spread of the Christian faith in order to magnify the secondary ones.

1.

Hobart, or Hubbard, was the sexton of the First Parish, Quincy; see vols. 3:84; 6:107.

2.

The remaining two were AA’s sister, Mary Smith Cranch, and her husband, Richard. “Aunt Smith” was Mrs. William Stephens Smith (AA2); Louisa Smith’s mother was Catherine Catharine Louisa (Salmon) Smith. CFA had earlier had to preside at the interments of GWA, TBA, and JA2; see vols. 3:85; 4:260; 6:107.

3.

An earlier view of W. C. Gorham is at vol. 6:109.